WASHINGTON – The United States has warned its citizens to leave Russia immediately fearing risk of arbitrary arrest or harassment by Russian law enforcement agencies.
The U.S. embassy in Moscow asked its citizens residing or travelling in Russia on Monday to depart immediately, adding that increased caution should be exercised due to the risk of ‘wrongful detentions’.
“Do not travel to Russia,” the embassy said in point blank fashion. This is not a fresh warning as Washington has been calling on its citizens to leave Russia in the past as well; the last such public warning was issued in September.
“Russian security services have arrested US citizens on spurious charges, singled out US citizens in Russia for detention and harassment, denied them fair and transparent treatment, and convicted them in secret trials or without presenting credible evidence,” the embassy said.
“Russian authorities arbitrarily enforce local laws against US citizen religious workers and have opened questionable criminal investigations against US citizens engaged in religious activity.”
On the other hand, Russia has shrugged off the warning as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said warnings have been voiced by the State Department many times in the last period and so this was not a new thing.
The warning comes in the backdrop of the Ukraine war as next week will mark one year since Russia invaded Ukraine last year and faced flak from the international community.